Pothole compensation claims have cost councils £300MILLION in the last decade – enough to fill 5million craters – as figures show more than 2,000 people have been seriously hurt and 94 killed in crashes on Britain’s cracking roads since 2013
Councils have spent nearly £300million on pothole compensation claims over the past decade – enough to fill five million potholes.
Fresh figures show £11.6million was paid out to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians for damage and injuries last year, with a further £11.1million spent on handling claims.
Yet the same sum of cash could have filled an additional 340,000 potholes – potentially preventing future accidents, according to research by Citroen UK.
It comes after the Daily Mail revealed how highway authorities were turning away millions of pounds in pothole claims each year, with fewer than one in four resulting in a payout.
Many are rebuffed on the basis of a loophole in the Highways Act 1980, which states that councils and other highway authorities are liable for claims only if they have not inspected roads frequently or made repairs in adequate time.
Fresh figures show £11.6million was paid out to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians for damage and injuries last year (file image)
Department for Transport (DfT) data shows that over 2,000 people have been seriously injured – including 94 killed – in accidents on Britain’s badly maintained roads since 2013 (file image)
And councils can also plead ignorance if a pothole has not been reported. Yet separate analysis of Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) figures shows councils in England and Wales have paid out nearly £290.8million in claims since 2013 – enough to cover the cost of fixing 5.1million potholes at an average cost of £57 per repair.
Meanwhile, Department for Transport (DfT) data shows that over 2,000 people have been seriously injured – including 94 killed – in accidents on Britain’s badly maintained roads since 2013.
RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: ‘It’s clear just how much of a pothole predicament the country is in when you look at the amounts councils are paying in compensation to drivers who, through no fault of their own, are suffering the ill effects of hitting one.
‘If more of the tax drivers pay was being spent on maintenance and improvement, we wouldn’t be in this position.’
Mr Dennis added: ‘We will not rest until the Government re-thinks local roads funding and puts an end to the hand-to-mouth approach of patching potholes rather than proper resurfacing.’
The Daily Mail is campaigning to end Britain’s pothole plague which is costing motorists millions in repair bills and putting cyclists at risk.
It would currently take eleven years to clear the pothole backlog in England and Wales, according to the AIA’s latest ALARM survey.
Greg Taylor, managing director of Citroen UK, said: ‘The 2023 ALARM report shows that the UK faces an 11-year and £14.2billion backlog of road repairs.
‘With this in mind, it’s no surprise that millions are spent each year on damage compensation for motorists.’
A Local Government Association spokesman said: ‘Each claim for compensation sent to a council is robustly judged on its own merits and in accordance to the law. ‘Instead of paying for costly compensation claims, councils much prefer to use their budgets to keep our roads in a good condition, in turn reducing the risk of damage to vehicles and personal injuries.’
A DfT spokesman said: ‘We’re investing more than £5 billion from 2020 to 2025 to maintain local roads, with an extra £200 million announced at the Budget, which will help fix millions of potholes a year and resurface roads up and down the country, making journeys smoother and safer for everyone.’